'Mad Men': Love and Death at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce

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AMC


The fourth season of Mad Men is in full swing, exploring the aftermath of the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce and the dissolution of the Draper marriage.Richard Drew, Danielle Robinson, and Catie Cambria—to provide their takes on all the sex, the clothes, and of course, the drama.

They weigh in on this week's episode, in which Don introduces Faye to his personal drama, and Peggy receives a gift that threatens her career.

Richard Drew (TV producer and creator of the blog Remote Patrolled): Life at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce certainly proved eventful on this week's Mad Men.

We had drama in the form of poor Sally Draper running away from Betty, one of the worst moms in the world, and literally having to be dragged screaming from the building. The tone turned slapstick with the death of Don's scene stealing secretary, Ida (an unfortunate move in my opinion—the character still had a lot of comedic juice left), whose body was literally wheeled away behind the scenes during a client meeting.

Then there was Joan and Roger, one moment threatened by a gun-wielding robber, the next making love in a side street. Even Peggy found herself adrift, forced to question her conscience by a potential new partner and veering between indignation, anger and a desire to try and do the right thing.

As usual Mad Men juggled these contrasting tones effortlessly. In lesser hands Ida would have become an easy punch line, but the character never overshadowed the show's drama—and Bert's "she's an astronaut" send-off—was as touching as it was absurd.

Similarly Sally's dramatic fall on the office floor took what could have been a predictable storyline and made it touching—the visual of the Sterling women, watching (and judging) the ice-cold Betty spoke volumes.

Just like last season's shocking "lawnmower scene," you never know what will happen next. The only constant is quality. This is shaping up to be Mad Men's best season to date.

Catie Cambria (fashion publicist at Donna Karan New York): We ended last night with Joan, Peggy, and Faye getting into the elevator after a whirlwind few days at SDCP. Their composed, polished exteriors belie the inner turmoil and insecurity we saw in each of these women this week. Peggy's friend Joyce describes men and women as "the soup" and "the pot," and then asks Peggy, "Who wants to be a pot?" It is an apt metaphor for the strictures placed upon these women, and their inability to break free from them.

Faye, the newest to the SDCP gang, has seemed unshakeable thus far. She shifts almost effortlessly from having mind-blowing sex with Don in his apartment to helping him run a meeting with a client. It's only when Sally arrives on the scene that Faye seems less sure, and more at the beck and call of Don's orders. The breaking point is Sally's meltdown at the office, when Faye is forced to try to soothe her. Sally basically tells Faye to shut it before going careening down the hallway. In the aftermath, Faye tells Don that she feels like "she failed a test." She is not and will not be a mother, and I think she very deeply fears that Don won't accept or appreciate that.

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